|Spanish Multimedia Encyclopedia|
Radial nerve dysfunction is a problem with the movement or sensation of the back of the arm (triceps), forearm, or hand.
Neuropathy - radial nerve ; Radial nerve palsy
Radial nerve dysfunction is a form of peripheral neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to the radial nerve, which travels down the arm and controls movement of the triceps muscle at the back of the upper arm. It also controls extension of the wrist and helps in the movement and sensation of the wrist and hand.
Dysfunction of a single nerve group (such as the radial nerve) is called mononeuropathy (mono means "one," and neuropathy means "nerve damage"). With mononeuropathy usually the nerve damage is caused locally. However, systemic disorders (such as mononeuritis multiplex) may occasionally cause nerve damage.
These factors may be complicated by a lack of oxygen from decreased blood flow (ischemia) in the area.
In some cases, no cause can be found.
Symptoms can affect the following:
The following symptoms may occur:
The health care provider will take a history of your activities and injuries. An examination of the arm, hand, and wrist may identify radial nerve dysfunction.
The exam may find:
In rare cases, it may be difficult to tell radial nerve dysfunction apart from a stroke.
Tests for nerve dysfunction may include:
The goal of treatment is to maximize your ability to use the hand and arm. The health care provider should find and treat the cause appropriately. In most cases, no treatment is needed and you will recover slowly on your own.
Surgery to remove masses that press on the nerve may help.
CONTROL OF SYMPTOMS
Medications may include:
Whenever possible, avoid or minimize your use of medications to reduce the risk of side effects.
Other treatments include:
Occupational therapy, or job counseling, changes, or retraining may be recommended as appropriate.
If the cause of the nerve dysfunction can be found and successfully treated, there is a possibility that you will fully recover. Disability can range from none to partial or complete loss of movement or sensation.
Nerve pain may be uncomfortable and may last for a long period of time. If this occurs, see a pain specialist to ensure you have access to all pain treatment options.
Call your health care provider if you have had an injury to the arm, and you develop numbness, tingling, or weakness.
The prevention varies depending on the cause. Avoid prolonged pressure on the upper arm.